The catenins, (alpha, beta and gamma) are cytoplasmic proteins which bind to the highly conserved tail of the E-cadherin molecule. Beta-catenin is a component of the adherens junction, a multiprotein complex which supports Ca2+ -dependent cell-to-cell contact, which in itself is critical for adhesion, signal transmission and for anchoring the actin cytoskeleton. Beta-catenin's role is as a transcription effector of the wnt-signaling pathway. Immunohistochemistry is the best way to demonstrate nuclear expression of beta-catenin and wnt-pathway activation. This aberrant expression is observed in human tumorigenesis, and especially in colorectal cancer.
Beta-Catenin is recommended for the detection of specific antigens of interest in normal and neoplastic tissues, as an adjunct to conventional histopathology using non-immunologic histochemical stains.